Leading the Travel Industry
Business 888-380-9872  |  Vacation 800-756-6342  |  Meetings 855-847-4698  |  Group Air 877-252-3415



Fly America Act

Fly America Act

Frequently Asked Questions and General Information



What does the United States mean?
For purposes of the use of United States flag air carriers, United States means the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the territories and possessions of the United States.

Who is required to use a U.S. flag air carrier?
Anyone whose air travel is financed by U.S. Government funds, except as provided in the FTR.

What is a U.S. flag air carrier?
An air carrier which holds a certificate under 49 U.S.C. 41102 but does not include a foreign air carrier operating under a permit.

What is U.S. flag air carrier service?
U.S. flag air carrier service is service provided on an air carrier which holds a certificate under 49 U.S.C. 41102 and which service is authorized either by the carrier's certificate or by exemption or regulation. U.S. flag air carrier service also includes service provided under a code share agreement with a foreign air carrier in accordance with Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations when the ticket, or documentation for an electronic ticket, identifies the U.S. flag air carrier's designator code and flight number.

When must I travel using U.S. flag air carrier service?
You are required by Congressional Law 49 U.S.C. 40118, commonly referred to as the "Fly America Act," to use U.S. flag air carrier service for all air travel funded by the U.S. Government, except as provided in the FTR or when one of the following exceptions applies: (a) Use of a foreign air carrier is determined to be a matter of necessity in accordance with;
    or
(b) The transportation is provided under a bilateral or multilateral air transportation agreement to which the United States Government and the government of a foreign country are parties, and which the Department of Transportation has determined meets the requirements of the Fly America Act. As the U.S. – EU Open Skies Agreement is such an air transportation agreement, the General Services Administration (GSA) intends to issue regulations addressing the content of the provision on U.S. Government procured transportation included in the agreement to ensure that all are aware of the change made by the agreement. Regulation addressing air passenger transportation will be included in the FTR.
(c) You are an officer or employee of the Department of State, United States Information Agency, United States International Development Cooperation Agency, or the Arms Control Disarmament Agency, and your travel is paid with funds appropriated to one of these agencies and your travel is between two places outside the United States;
    or
(d) No U.S. flag air carrier provides service on a particular leg of the route, in which case, foreign air carrier service may be used, but only to or from the nearest interchange point on a usually traveled route to connect with U.S. flag air carrier service;
    or
(e) A U.S. flag air carrier involuntarily reroutes your travel on a foreign air carrier;

    or
(f) Service on a foreign air carrier would be three hours or less, and use of the U.S. flag air carrier would at least double your en-route travel time; or (g) When the costs of transportation are reimbursed in full by a third party, such as a foreign government, international agency, or other organization.

What exceptions to the Fly America Act requirements apply when I travel between the United States and another country?
The exceptions are:
(a) If a U.S. flag air carrier offers nonstop or direct service (no aircraft change) from your origin to your destination, you must use the U.S. flag air carrier service unless such use would extend your travel time, including delay at origin, by 24 hours or more.
(b) If a U.S. flag air carrier does not offer nonstop or direct service (no aircraft change) between your origin and your destination, you must use a U.S. flag air carrier on every portion of the route where it provides service unless, when compared to using a foreign air carrier, such use would;
(1) Increase the number of aircraft changes you must make outside of the U.S. by 2 or more;
    or
(2) Extend your travel time by at least 6 hours or more;
    or
(3) Require a connecting time of 4 hours or more at an overseas interchange point.

What exceptions to the Fly America Act requirements apply when I travel solely outside the United States, and a U.S. flag air carrier provides service between my origin and destination?
You must always use a U.S. flag carrier for such travel unless, when compared to using a foreign air carrier, such use would:
(a) Increase the number of aircraft changes you must make en-route by 2 or more;
    or
(b) Extend your travel time by 6 hours or more;
    or
(c) Require a connecting time of 4 hours or more at an overseas interchange point.
What exceptions to the Fly America Act requirements apply when I travel solely outside The United States and a U.S. flag air carrier provides service between my origin and destination? You must always use a U.S. flag carrier for such travel unless, when compared to using a foreign air carrier, such use would:
(a) Increase the number of aircraft changes you must make en-route by 2 or more;
    or
(b) Extend your travel time by 6 hours or more;
    or
(c) Require a connecting time of 4 hours or more at an overseas interchange point.

In what circumstances is foreign air carrier service deemed a matter of necessity?
(a) Foreign air carrier service is deemed a necessity when service by a U.S. flag air carrier is available, but
(1) Cannot provide the air transportation needed;
    or
(2) Will not accomplish the agency's mission.
(b) Necessity includes, but is not limited to the following circumstances:
(1) When the agency determines that use of a foreign air carrier is necessary for medical reasons, including use of foreign air carrier service to reduce the number of connections and possible delays in the transportation of persons in need of medical treatment;
    or
(2) When the use of a foreign air carrier is required to avoid an unreasonable risk to your safety (e.g., terrorist threats) and is approved by your agency. Written approval of the use of foreign air carrier service based on an unreasonable risk to your safety must be approved by your agency on a case-by-case basis. An agency determination and approval of the use of a foreign air carrier based on a threat against a U.S. flag air carrier must be supported by a travel advisory notice issued by the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of State. An agency determination and approval of use of a foreign air carrier based on a threat against Government employees or other travelers must be supported by evidence of the threat(s) that form the basis of the determination and approval;
   or
(3) When you cannot purchase a ticket in your authorized class of service on a U.S. flag air carrier, and a seat is available in your authorized class of service on a foreign air carrier.

May I travel by a foreign air carrier if the cost of my ticket is less than traveling by a U.S. flag air carrier?
No. Foreign air carrier service may not be used solely based on the cost of your ticket.

May I use a foreign air carrier if the service is preferred by or is more convenient for my agency or me?
No. You must use U.S. flag air carrier service unless you meet one of the exceptions in the FTR, or unless foreign air carrier service is deemed a matter of necessity under the FTR or Open Skies Multilateral Treaty.

Must I provide any special certification or documents if I use a foreign air carrier?
Yes, you must provide a certification, as required in section the FTR and any other documents required by your agency. Your agency cannot pay your foreign air carrier if you do not provide the required certification.

What must the certification include?
The certification must include:
(a) Your name;
(b) The dates that you traveled;
(c) The origin and the destination of your travel;
(d) A detailed itinerary of your travel, name of the air carrier and flight number for each leg of the trip; and,
(e) A statement explaining why you met one of the exceptions in the FTR or a copy of your agency's written approval that foreign air carrier service was deemed a matter of necessity in accordance with the FTR.

What is my liability if I improperly use a foreign air carrier?
You will not be reimbursed for any transportation cost for which you improperly use foreign air carrier service. If you are authorized by your agency to use U.S. flag air carrier service for your entire trip and you improperly use a foreign air carrier for any part of or the entire trip (i.e., when not permitted under this regulation) your transportation cost on the foreign air carrier will not be payable by your agency. If your agency authorizes you to use U.S. flag air carrier service for part of your trip and foreign air carrier service for another part of your trip, and you improperly use a foreign air carrier (i.e., when neither authorized to do so nor otherwise permitted under this regulation) your agency will pay the transportation cost on the foreign air carrier for only the portion(s) of the trip for which you were authorized to use foreign air carrier service. The agency must establish internal procedures for denying reimbursement to travelers when the use of a foreign air carrier was neither authorized nor otherwise permitted under this regulation.


Open Skies

While Open Skies agreements are common, most do not address official travel purchased with U.S. funds.  This inclusion is what makes the U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement unique. 

  The U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement essentially states that if:
  1. There is no contract city pair in place between the origin and destination reflected on the travel order, or the traveler is not eligible to travel on the GSA city-pair fare, and
  2. Airlines of the European Community and its Member States (hereinafter "Community airlines"), from points behind the Member States via the Member States and intermediate points to any point or points in the United States and beyond; for allcargo service, between the United States and any point or points; and, for combination services, between any point or points in the United States and any point or points in any member of the European Common Aviation Area (hereinafter the "ECAA") as of the date of signature of this Agreement; and
  3. For an EU Community airline, substantial ownership and effective control of that airline are vested in a Member State or States, nationals of such a state or states, or both, and the airline is licensed as an EU Community airline and has its principal place of business in the territory of the European Community
  4. The flight can originate, transit, and or end in an EU member nation, then equal consideration should be given to conducting travel on U.S-flag and EU member-flag carriers.
  5. Operating carrier must be the EU Community airline, code shares are not allowed. IE Lufthansa flight, operated by Turkish airlines.
  6. Business class fares are not regulated or mandated by the city pair fare program and EU open skies member airlines should be used and offered as a lower fare option.
 
  • So, if the EU-flag carrier is less expensive, the EU carrier flight may be purchased.  If the U.S.-flag carrier is less expensive, the U.S. carrier should be used.
  • If the EU-flag carrier is used, the traveler must still submit a signed DS Form 3093 (or the appropriate required document as directed by your agency or bureau) citing the U.S.-EU Open Skies, Agreement as a multilateral treaty (Reference 14 FAM 583
  • Note: Although they are not members of the EU, Norway and Iceland were added to this agreement in 2012
  • Turkish Air does not qualify under the U.S.-EU Open Skies the U.S.-EU Open Skies Agreement (Turkey is not part of the EU.)
  • Current member countries include, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cypress, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hellenic, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom including Northern Ireland.
 
Ultimately, if travel is in a CPP market, the travel should be on the government contract carrier.



Updated 7/27/17